Beyond good and evil? A buddhist critique of Nietzsche

Asian Philosophy 6 (1):37 – 57 (1996)
Abstract In what ways was Nietzsche right, from a Buddhist perspective, and where did he go wrong? Nietzsche understood how the distinction we make between this world and a higher spiritual realm serves our need for security, and he saw the bad faith in religious values motivated by this need. He did not perceive how his alternative, more aristocratic values, also reflects the same anxiety. Nietzsche realised how the search for truth is motivated by a sublimated desire for symbolic security; philosophy's attempt to create the world reflects the tyrannical will?to?power, becoming the most ?spiritualised? version of the need to impose our will. Insofar as truth is our intellectual effort to grasp being symbolically, however, Nietzsche overlooks a different reversal of perspective which could convert the ?bad infinite? of heroic will into the good infinite of disseminating play. What he considered the crown of his system?eternal recurrence?is actually its denouement. Having seen through the delusion of Being, Nietzsche still sought a Being within Becoming. Nietzsche is able to affirm the value of this moment only by making it recur eternally. Rather than the way to vanquish nihilism, will?to?power turns out to be pure nihilism, for nihilism is not the debacle of all meaning but our dread of that debacle and what we do to avoid it
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